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Why Not Hold the Criminals Responsible

July 24, 1994

* Your editorial "How Many Guns Are Enough?" (June 19) is yet another example of the illogical and fuzzy thinking typical of those who seek to reduce crime by restricting non-criminals' access to firearms.

The editorial initially related an anecdote regarding an unnamed judge whose house was burglarized and firearms stolen. The Times then blamed the unfortunate judge (who was after all the victim), for ". . . arming the neighborhood crooks to the teeth." This absurd suggestion is akin to blaming the victim of a carjacking when his car is later used in a bank robbery! What ever happened to holding the criminal wrongdoer responsible?

The editorial then related five incidents in which the perpetrator used a firearm. It is always a tragedy when an innocent person is injured during the commission of a crime, whether a gun is used or not. However, the facts The Times conveniently ignored tell the real story.

For instance, you mention research that indicates an armed public actually reduces crime. Indeed, it is well documented that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens thwart several million crimes nationwide each year. The Times further ignored the fact that just .02% of the firearms in America are involved in fatalities each year. The Times also ignored the fact that courts have routinely held that police do not have a legal obligation to protect citizens from criminal activity. And it should certainly be obvious to everyone, even The Times, that the police are not protecting citizens from crime.

In short, The Times suggests some 70 million law-abiding Americans voluntarily disarm themselves and remain completely defenseless, all because a small number of criminals use guns to commit crimes. Somehow I think most readers will see through this faulty logic. I know for certain 70 million of us will.

STEVEN A. SILVER

Encino

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